Donation issue raised as Grenada PM reshuffles cabinet
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Friday June 15, 2012 – Following conflicting reports and an outright denial by Information Minister Glen Noel last week, Grenada’s rumoured cabinet reshuffle has now become reality.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas announced changes in portfolios involving MPs Glynis Roberts and Sylvester Quarless on Tuesday evening in a nationally televised address.
Roberts, former minister of labour, social security and ecclesiastical affairs, is now minister of environment, foreign trade and export trade. Quarless has labour, social security and ecclesiastical affairs added to his social development portfolio.
The changes were effected in the fourth cabinet reshuffle since Thomas and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) were voted into office in July 2008.
Last week when a local TV station broke the news of the impending cabinet changes, the information minister denied having knowledge of such a reshuffle.
He said no medium had called him to discuss the matter nor had he been “officially informed” of any pending government reshuffle. “I don’t know anything about it,” he declared.
It nevertheless materialised publicly in Tuesday’s address, during which the prime minister also commented on a cash donation deposited into his personal bank account on behalf of the NDC in January.
The issue of the donation, first raised by the opposition New National Party (NNP), has since been a hot topic in Grenada and beyond.
The prime minister, who has released a photocopy of a bank declaration he signed for receipt of US$50,000 from a corporate resident of the British Virgin Islands, said he had violated no internal rules of his party, infringed none of the country’s laws, nor were any of the tenets of his moral standing compromised. He added that he wanted to dispel all appearance of “connivance and cover up”.
According to Thomas, the money was given for work of the NDC and he has insisted that it be used for its intended purposes. He stated that there was no requirement that the money should be deposited into a specific account of the NDC.
Meanwhile, the NNP, which originally claimed that an unnamed top government official had received US$150,000 from a donor in Saudi Arabia, has still not produced documentation to support this assertion.
Opposition representative Terry Forrester said that the evidence would be made public in “due course,” adding that documents in possession of the NNP are now in the hands of the party’s attorneys.